Legislative session begins with confusion over possible Utah opioid lawsuit


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – The Utah Legislative session is officially underway and there are already more than 1,200 bill requests.

The 2018 legislative session started off with confusion during the opening address from Speaker Greg Hughes. He indicated the state could move forward with it’s own lawsuit against drug companies after several conversations with Attorney General Sean Reyes. Although the AG says his office is still apart of a multi state investigation that could end in settlement.

This is just one of many issues that’s expected to be hammered out on the hill over the next several weeks.

Hughes started off the session encouraging this colleges to tackle the big issues during this session which also falls during an election year. Transportation infrastructure, education, and homelessness are expected to be some of the main topics.

The speaker created confusion during his speech when he indicated the state would move forward with a lawsuit against drug companies…something the AG says isn’t on the table just yet.

“There is no intention of ours as the state of Utah to file a lawsuit unless and until we see what happens with the multi-state. We would be foolish prematurely right now,” said Reyes.

The attorney general notes this investigation is uncovering much of the information they would need in a lawsuit in the first place. Speaker Hughes worries a multi-state settlement would be an easy way out for drug companies.

“It’s been my opinion that those who want to settle early are trying to alleviate some of the liability they may face further down the road,” said Hughes.

The speaker wants a lawsuit to hit drug companies so hard they have no choice but to change their practices.

“If that settlement does that and we’re convinced it does that then I think we would be smart to move forward in that way. But I’m skeptical of that,” Hughes.

Reyes says he is on the same page with the speaker when it comes to the extra resources and outside council needed for a case like that. He notes the multi-state investigation is vital for now.

“I’ll say it again we are getting everything we need in the multi-state to put together the best case,” said Reyes.

Governor Gary Herbert is set to give his state of the state on Wednesday which will also help shape some of the legislative agenda. Many people are keeping an eye to see if the legislature will tackle issues like education and Medicaid which are set for ballot measures later this year.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Glen Mills

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For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...

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